The new season of Stranger Things finally brought the kids of Hawkins face-to-face against the Mind Flayer, but there were some major setbacks in their attempts to take down the latest threat coming from the Upside Down. And everything was made much more complicated thanks to the meddling of those damn commies, with Russian military conducting experiments on United States soil.
But while it seems like the heroes have a great chance to end this threat once and for all, Stranger Things 3 ends with police chief Jim Hopper making the ultimate sacrifice, staying behind while Joyce Byers shuts down the Russian's experiment and seemingly killing her romantic foil in the process.
Some are already speculating that this isn't the end of Jim's story, and it can't be after he finally came to terms with his adopted daughter Eleven becoming a women AND securing a date with Joyce.
After all, Hopper's body is never shown in this final scene. We do see a few other Russian soldiers get disintegrated, but Hopper is not depicted to receive the same fate.
Fans are also teased with the post-credits scene from the finale of Stranger Things 3, in which a Russian soldier is told to feed their demogorgon but is ordered to spare "the American." Instead, the soldier grabs a Russian prisoner and feeds it to their new specimen, potentially growing it in hopes of using it as a weapon.
Speculation alarms immediately have fans theorizing that the series is setting up Hopper's return, especially since there aren't any other American characters that we know are in Russian custody. So how could Hopper end up imprisoned on the other side of the planet?
Well, for one, the Russian experiment involved a particle accelerator much like the Large Hadron Collider. Given the physics of string theory and time travel, it's possible that being so close to the blast could have sent Hopper hurtling back in time at the same location, when the Russian experiment wasn't being dismantled.
With all of those troops, Hopper would likely be immediately captured and sent overseas for interrogation, meaning that he could be in captive for a lot longer than fans would think.
The other possibility is that the particle accelerator, pointed at a door toward the Upside Down, provided Hopper a means of escape. While this is a very dangerous and risky attempt, it would save Hopper from any damage from the particle accelerator, and he could either be waiting inside there for rescue or the Russians could have retrieved him.
Either way, fans are very curious about the future of Jim Hopper on Stranger Things. And while this might seem like the end, you should never count out the police chief of Hawkins.